My friend Michelle made it a goal to listen to every song on her iPod a few weeks ago. She has something like 1,500 songs loaded on it and – frankly – she feels bad that some of them are neglected. I know how she feels. I took a look at my computer and was stunned by the fact I have something like 35,000 MP3 files stored on my machine and I have only listened to ten percent of them. Granted, the play history only measures back about a year or so since I installed MediaMonkey, but I listen to a lot of music in my office. It’s on in the background when I work from home (it helps drown out the parrots). I figured it was a good approximation of my musical tastes.
I was surprised I hadn’t spent the last year listening to Prince, Journey or Janis Joplin. I didn’t listen much to Surfjan Stevens, Steely Dan or the White Stripes. Even my favorite band – The Beatles – had a number of tracks that hadn’t been accessed from MediaMonkey, and not just Revolution No. 9. I listened to more music from 1897 than 2008. I could have sworn I had listened to more Rolling Stones. I thought I might be confused as to where I heard my music. It doesn’t measure how many times I listen to something once it’s been dumped to my portable player or burned onto a CD-R for the truck. Maybe I had heard them all on the radio. No, that wasn’t right. I had There She Goes Again stuck in my head a few weeks back. I know they don’t play The Velvet Underground on NPR.
Even more surprising was what I had been listening to for the past year. My favorite was the soundtrack from NFL Films. That made sense; I listened to those tracks over and over while editing Daniel’s football games. But why the hell had I played Crazy Elephant so much? Glen Campbell? I like Wichita Lineman, but – really? I played it eight times last year? I only listened to Ray Charles’ One Mint Julep once. As for Mr. Tambourine Man, the William Shatner version beat out both Bob Dylan and The Byrds by a wide margin. Of course, he does sound like someone has hit him in the head with a blunt object and he’s staggering around the soundstage spouting out nonsense as the brain damage begins to manifest itself.
I have to admit I feel a little self conscious now about what I’ve been listening to. I feel I should play a couple of tracks of Bach or Beethoven before I listen to Bananarama (again). I may have to track through more of my collection of jazz and forego TV theme songs. Either that, or I need to hack into the MediaMonkey database and wipe out the statistics. There is such a thing as too much information.